D.A. Vance: Driver Charged With Manslaughter For Striking Two Pedestrians, One Fatally, in Upper West Side Crash


October 17, 2019

Defendant Also Charged For Striking a Third Pedestrian in a Prior Incident

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. today announced the indictment of JESSENIA FAJARDO, 38, for striking two pedestrians with her SUV on West End Avenue, killing 62-year-old Alfred Pocari and seriously injuring the second victim, and for injuring a third victim in a separate, unrelated vehicular incident. FAJARDO is charged in a New York Supreme Court indictment with Manslaughter in the Second Degree and Assault in the Second and Third Degrees, among other charges.[1]

“While other types of crime drop to historic lows across New York City, pedestrians and cyclists remain under constant threat of vehicular violence from habitually reckless drivers,” said District Attorney Vance. “As alleged in this indictment, this defendant’s driving record demonstrates a history of disregard for our laws and the safety of her fellow New Yorkers. In the space of just three months, her reckless conduct included striking three pedestrians, endangering countless others, and causing the death of a beloved grandfather of three. My office will continue to advocate for legislation that enhances criminal accountability for vehicular violence and keeps reckless drivers off the road.”

According to court documents and statements made on the record in court, at approximately 3:30 p.m. on July 19, 2019, FAJARDO was driving a 2011 Acura RDX SUV northbound on West End Avenue. As she approached the intersection of West End Avenue and West 98th street, FAJARDO drove through a red light, at which point the defendant struck Mr. Pocari and another pedestrian, who were inside of a marked crosswalk. The two victims suffered severe injuries and were taken to Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital, where Mr. Pocari later died.

In a prior incident on May 21, 2019, at approximately 6:45 a.m., the defendant drove through a stop sign at the intersection of Desbrosses and Washington Streets and over a pedestrian’s foot while the pedestrian was crossing inside of a marked crosswalk. The defendant briefly exited her car but fled the scene without providing any identifying information after the pedestrian indicated he was going to call 911.

Assistant D.A.s Matthew Bogdanos, Senior Trial Counsel of Trial Bureau 50, and Mary Ann Keys, also of Trial Bureau 50, are handling the prosecution of the case under the supervision of Assistant D.A.s Jill Hoexter, Chief of the Vehicular Crimes Unit, and David O’Keefe, Deputy Chief of the Trial Division, as well as Executive Assistant D.A. John Irwin, Chief of the Trial Division. Senior Investigative Analyst, Nicole Drosinos is also assisting with the case.

District Attorney Vance thanked the NYPD Detectives Peter Jarvis of the Highway District and David Okonek of the 1st Precinct Detective Squad, as well as officers from the 1st and 24th Precincts.

 

Defendant Information:

JESSENIA FAJARDO, D.O.B. 1/13/1981

WALDEN, NY

Charges:

  • Manslaughter in the Second Degree, a class C felony, one count
  • Assault in the Second Degree, a class D felony, two counts
  • Assault in the Third Degree, a class A misdemeanor, one count
  • Leaving the Scene of an Incident with Mere Failure to Exhibit Documents, with Personal Injury, a class B misdemeanor, one count
  • The Right of Way of Pedestrians and Bicyclists – Physical Injury, an unclassified misdemeanor, three counts

[1] The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. All factual recitations are derived from documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court.